Welcome to another rousing edition of Black Coffee, your off-beat weekly round-up of what’s been going on in the world of money and personal finance.
Let’s get right to it …
Credits and Debits
Credit: After adding a paltry 11,000 jobs in May, the US supposedly managed to add 287,000 positions last month. Sorry, folks, but I’m not buying it.
Debit: Apparently, the bond market ain’t buying it either, as yields continue to scream that the economy is in a nasty recession — and headed for a depression. In fact, 10-year Treasury yields hit an all-time low this past week, after the 30-year rate hit its historical low a week prior. Folks … something is rotten in America. Somewhere.
Debit: Please pardon my cynicism toward any government data or information. But if you had any doubt Americans have been living in a banana republic for years now — any doubt at all — then the pathetic event that occurred last Wednesday should put that to rest once and for all. God help us.
Credit: Count David Stockman as another financial guru who says the economy isn’t nearly as rosy as government and Fed officials desperately
want need us to believe. According to Stockman, “Our monetary Humpty-Dumpty is heading for a great fall.” Finally! Economics explained in terms even pre-schoolers and socialists can understand.
Credit: Okay … Upon further reflection, that’s probably still too complicated for the socialists. Forward!
Debit: But seriously, how can anybody say with a straight face that the American economy is doing well when US factory orders just declined for the 19th consecutive month. Yes, 19. That’s never happened during the 60 years that particular statistic has been tracked. At the same time, US stock indices are near their all-time highs. I’m sure there’s a logical explanation. Or not.
Debit: Across the pond, a large number of UK property funds began freezing assets and suspending redemptions this week, signaling the start of a collapsing real estate market bubble that’s been building there for years. Yes, I know: UK realtors are still insisting that, “It’s never been a better time to buy!TM”
Credit: The situation in the UK is a stark reminder why those who exit any kind of financial panic first, always exit best. The trouble is, that usually only applies to the first 0.00001% of those who want to leave. And I suspect that figure may be too large.
Debit: Meanwhile, Italy’s $2.2 trillion banking system is on the verge of collapse as nearly 20% of their loans are considered non-performing — that is, they aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. Or putting it more bluntly: the Italian financial system is hanging by a thread. Other than that, everything’s great in Europe. No, really! Just fine. Yesiree …
Debit: Folks, the entire globe is stuck in a Weekend at Bernie’s economy — where those in power are trying to convince us everything is fine, despite the presence of certain economic indicators that are immune from manipulation.
Credit: As financial analyst Dave Kranzler notes, “The global financial system is collapsing. If the central banks stepped away from both their observable and covert money printing, the system would collapse tomorrow.” Of course, they won’t — so the worldwide economic zombie stomp will continue. Until it doesn’t.
Debit: It also means free-lunch government officials like the clown who now wants New York City to pay for citizens’ sunscreen at parks, beaches, pools and playgrounds will stay in power a little while longer too. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Clearly, “the land of the free” no longer means what it used to — and hasn’t for a long time. Banana, anyone?
By the Numbers
According to Pew, middle class households in America are those that earn between 66% and 200% of the median U.S. annual household income. Here are a few more facts about the US Middle Class:
$24,000 The current lower bound of “middle class” for a single person.
$73,000 The current upper bound of “middle class” for a single person.
$126,000 The current upper bound of “middle class” for a family of three.
61% Share of all middle income adults in 1971; the share has declined every year since.
50% Share of all adults in 2015 who qualified as “middle class.”
88% Share of adults in 2015 attaining a bachelor’s degree who qualified as “middle class” or higher.
83% Share of adults in 1971 attaining only a high school education who qualified as “middle class” or higher.
64% Share of adults in 2015 attaining only a high school education who qualified as “middle class” or higher.
Last Week’s Poll Result
How often will you be watching the Olympics this year?
- Not at all (35%)
- Occasionally (33%)
- Very little (25%)
- As often as I can (7%)
More than 1200 people chimed in for last week’s question and, after paying billions of dollars in broadcast rights, the folks at NBC will be dismayed to learn that 3 in 5 of them plan to watch none or, at best, very little of the upcoming Olympic games in Rio. Hmm. Perhaps those Len Penzo dot Com readers are afraid NBC will be broadcasting this year’s games in Smell-o-vision.
The Question of the Week
Other Useless News
Here are the top — and bottom — five states in terms of the average number of pages viewed per visit here at Len Penzo dot Com over the past 30 days:
1. South Dakota (2.18 pages/visit)
2. New Hampshire (2.14)
3. Nebraska (2.13)
4. Alabama (1.93)
5. North Dakota (1.82)
46. Maine (1.40)
47. Alaska (1.36)
48. South Carolina (1.33)
49. West Virginia (1.32)
50. Delaware (1.28)
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Letters, I Get Letters
Every week I feature the most interesting question or comment — assuming I get one, that is. And folks who are lucky enough to have the only question in the mailbag get their letter highlighted here whether it’s interesting or not! You can reach out to me at: Len@LenPenzo.com
After reading my article entitled 18 Facts You Didn’t Know About ATM Machines, edogg decided to contribute one of his own:
Here’s another fun fact: Calling it an “ATM Machine” is redundant.
So … does this mean you’re going to report me to the Department of Redundancy Department?
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.
Photo Credit: brendan-c